By Amanda Mayberry
Children unleash their creative minds at Mas Arte painting workshops held by Mujeres de Maiz. The Mas Arte kids workshops began in early summer and have just two more workshops left. The workshops will end on August 21.
Held at Legacy LA in Boyle Heights, the work shops are taught by Margaret Alarcon. This Friday children will be learning dine inspired loom weaving.
This summer’s art lessons have taught children to draw in the style of Paul Klee, circle mural painting, the meaning of In Lak’Ech and the Tree of Life. The media used varied from oil pastels to washable paint.
Alarcon began by reading to the children “Cat & Bird.” The children’s book and art work are inspired by Paul Klee’s art and feature one of his famous cat paintings on the last page of the book. For other workshops Alarcon begins with simple exercises, stretches that reach up and up all the way to the sun.
Alarcon remains interactive with the children through out the workshops, encouraging individual creativity and the children are eager to participate, expressing comprehensive understanding of the ideas and theories being taught.
No two paintings are ever the same as multi-colored cats are drawn out in all different shapes and sizes placed against an array of back drops. On orange construction paper the children start on their master pieces, glowing golden trees and imaginary cats or fluorescent circle mural paintings.
The children have no problem following Alarcon’s step by step instructions. She encourages the children to express themselves with no mistakes because she says she believes there are no mistakes in art.
“Kids are natural artists,” says Alarcon.
At the end of every workshop each painting is briefly put up on the wall for the children to display their work for parents and other children to see. It is a small art gallery for children to stand next to their art, proud and posing for pictures for parents who are just as proud.
For the Paul Klee workshop two children offered their art work to their aunt as gifts.
“We’ll take it home so you can give it to mama,” says Irma Romero to her nephew Austin José, 4 years old and in Pre-K.
“Mine is for auntie,” says Aidan José, 7 years old.
Brothers Aidan and Austin José were brought to the workshop by their Aunt Irma and her daughter Pamela.
“I’m taking a Chicano psychology class at PCC,” says Pamela. “My teacher told us about it so we decided to come.”
“It’s important to bring kids to this sort of thing,” says Romero. “It reminds me of when my daughter was young.”
The children’s workshops are just as rewarding to parents as they are for the children. The MdM workshops offer a way for parents to connect and interact with their kids while perhaps also learning some things and expressing themselves creatively as they paint with their children.
MdM work shops are a safe and healing space not just for women but for their families as well.
About the Writer: AMANDA MAYBERRY
Amanda Mayberry is a Black Xicana woman born and raised in East Los Angeles. In 2013 she received my Associate of Arts in journalism from East Los Angeles College. Currently she resides in Long Beach where she attends Cal State Long Beach working towards my Bachelor’s in journalism. Writing is her passion: she is a journalist and poet performing by stage name La Blaxicana. Through her writing, poetry and performance she finds healing, empowerment and strength in her identity as a woman of color. Amanda is the current Media and PR Intern for MdM.